Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 15 - Page 33

+ EDITOR’S QUESTION ABHIJIT DEB, HEAD OF BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES, UK AND IRELAND, COGNIZANT ///////////////// C onsumers expect easy, immediate, flexible and secure payment services no matter where they are or what they’re buying and whatever the payment method. In some cases, they even want to be rewarded for making transactions. And the offerings of digital banks such as Monzo and Starling are testament to the industry’s efforts to keep up with these rapidly evolving expectations. The shift in the payments landscape over the past few years has also brought a substantial evolution in the role of payment cards. This transformation has not only impacted the types of cards that companies are launching but has also affected card providers’ strategies and aspirations. Payment networks like Visa and MasterCard have built a massive infrastructure, also known as ‘payment rails’, for processing transactions globally. As purchasing trends shift online, credit and debit cards are increasingly being used more for their ‘rails’ than for the traditional plastic card we use in stores. Thus, the battleground for card providers is how to remain the default payment option across every channel, keeping them in the top spot in a spender’s digital wallet. The technological saturation of the financial services industry has also been met with an increasing affinity for risk among business customers. If one bank cannot meet their needs, customers can leave and it has never been easier for them to switch financial providers in a congested market. In terms of innovation, Blockchain is being harnessed by banks and technology vendors as a prime enabler of an instant B2B payments infrastructure. Most notably, industry players realise that the methods that can derive benefits today are largely based on a better understanding of the value of payment data. While data has mostly been used to create a hyper- personalised customer experience for consumers, it is increasingly being harnessed in services to businesses even outside the financial services sector, with companies such as Google recently purchasing Mastercard credit card information to track users’ spending to create an additional revenue stream. Adopting innovations such as automation means that banks and card providers can help their commercial customers transform payments into a process that can add real value and allow the integration of additional services. By making financial reporting much easier, organisations can glean better insights into data showing purchasing trends among their customer base. The emergence of Machine Learning and self-learning systems will make this process much more efficient, even incorporating features like automated financial advice or fraud detection to become commonplace. INTELLIGENTCIO 33